EghtesadOnline: The first phase of water transfer from the Persian Gulf to Kerman and Yazd provinces for industrial use will be completed in the next fiscal year, President Hassan Rouhani said in Kerman on Monday.
“This water can also be used for greenhouse farming. It can benefit the key agricultural sector in the two (dry) provinces as we will be able to harvest a variety of crops with low water consumption,” Borna News Agency quoted Rouhani as saying.
Kerman Province drinking water comes from 365 wells, three springs, eight aqueducts and two dams. The desert province, as is the case in most other regions, has been grappling with drought for years.
According to provincial authorities, the region’s groundwater balance is negative; meaning that the rate of water withdrawal is higher than recharge, Financial Tribune reported.
It is expected that transferring water from the Persian Gulf in the south will help alleviate the water crisis in the two important provinces.
In addition to Kerman and Yazd, the project seeks to supply water from the Persian Gulf to Hormozgan Province too.
The three provinces have no access to underground water resources and suffer from low precipitation.
The water transfer project has registered 60% progress and the installation of the first pipeline will be complete by next year.
Upon completion of the first phase, 150 million cubic meters of seawater will be sent to the water-stressed regions annually. The second and third pipelines will add another 150 mcm to the three provinces.
A consortium of nine Iranian banks has invested $428 million in the project and desalination facilities have been set up in the three provinces.
Although experts consider water transfer schemes to be environmentally hazardous and destructive, using water from Persian Gulf is the last resort as the country grapples with the unending water crisis.
Iran is facing perpetual drought for many years. Located in an arid and semi-arid area, the country is facing huge water deficits due to low precipitation and climate change coupled with waste and mismanagement. Overconsumption and systemic depletion of underground resources for farming have made a bad situation worse.
Six electricity and water projects were inaugurated in Kerman Province on Monday in the presence of Rouhani and Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian.
Costing $194 million, the projects include Kerman Wastewater Treatment Plant, solar power stations, and the steam unit of Goharan (aka Gol Gohar) Combined Cycle Power Plant, the Energy Ministry news portal Paven reported Ardakanian as saying.
The 160 MW steam unit built by the MAPNA Industrial Group cost $154 million. Goharan Power Plant is located 50 kilometers from Sirjan, in Gol Gohar region that is known for its iron ore mine.
The plant includes two gas turbines each with a capacity of 166 MW that came online two years ago. With the addition of the new steam unit, the total capacity of the plant reaches 492 MW.
Addition of the steam unit to the plant is in line with plans to convert simple-cycle plants to combined-cycle.
A combined-cycle power plant produces up to 50% more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional simple-cycle power plant. This is because waste heat from a gas turbine is routed to a nearby steam turbine that generates extra power.
Steps have been taken in recent years to convert conventional plants into combined-cycle units to improve efficiency and reduce pollution and costs.
Over 3,600 MW is generated in the province per year. Presently, 35% of electricity is used in the agriculture sector and 32% by industries.
Work on six electricity and water projects also started Monday with an investment of $164 million.
One major project is expansion of the wastewater network in Zarand. It is estimated to cost $122 million and be completed in three years.